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The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (original 2009; edition 2012)

by Jonas Jonasson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,0153041,273 (3.67)229
Member:cameling
Title:The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
Authors:Jonas Jonasson
Info:Hyperion (2012), Edition: Original, Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Fiction, world history, humor, Sweden

Work details

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson (2009)

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» See also 229 mentions

English (216)  Spanish (22)  Dutch (17)  French (13)  German (13)  Catalan (6)  Norwegian (3)  Italian (3)  Finnish (3)  Danish (3)  Swedish (2)  Hungarian (1)  All (302)
Showing 1-5 of 216 (next | show all)
Jonas Jonasson’s new book, The Girl Who save the Swedish King was released in April 2014. His book, The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared was turned into a major motion picture and has become an international success. I thought after all this excitement about Jonasson’s new book and film, it would be nice to return to Jonasson’s first book and look at what makes Allan, the 100-year-old man, so intriguing.

Jonasson’s novel follows the life of centenarian, Allan Karlsson, who one day decides to climb out of the window of his nursing home. He isn’t really looking for adventure, just somewhere that isn’t near nurse Alice. Although, from the moment Allan steps out the window, adventure is all he gets. When Allan steals a suitcase filled with money from a member of the ‘Never Again’ gang, Allan is hunted down by the gang and the police. With a bit of luck and wit Allan, a centenarian, manages to outwit the gang and stay on the run/shuffle. Along the way, Allan makes unlikely friends who form a mismatched group, including the boss of ‘Never Again’. So Allan, Julius, Benny, The Beauty, and Sonya the elephant travel around Sweden trying to escape the clutches of the Swedish police.

Jonasson has a very strong narrative style that is unmistakeably funny, strong, and relaxed. He alternates between current events – Allan and co. hiding from the police and the Never Again gang – and Allan’s younger years. Allan has a devil-may-care attitude and has a motto in life is: ‘Things are what they are, and whatever will be will be.’ This gets him into all sorts of trouble and throughout his life, Allan rubs shoulders with leaders from around the world. He has a terrible dinner with Stalin that ends with him being thrown into a Russian prison for five years; he pretends to attempt an assassination of Churchill in Iran; he has some noodles with Chairman Mao; ruins Kim Jong Il’s ability to trust; crosses the Himalayas; Fights for both sides of the Spanish revolution; squashes someone with an elephant; and finally marries at the age of 101.

Allan’s background and morals are far from pure. I would say they are simple. Allan enjoys nice company, preferably with vodka, and as long as he has enough money for a bit of food and some hard liquor, things are alright. And somehow, despite the fact that Allan helps develop the nuclear bomb, kills gang members (with a bit of help), and accidentally tells the Russians the secret of developing an A-bomb, he is still a loveable feel-good character. It is Allan’s positivity that is so uplifting in this book. He makes you believe that quite anything is possible.

If you haven’t read Jonasson’s book, it’s a must for this summer.

“Allan encouraged the marshal to think positively, but added that it was of course entirely up to the marshal himself. If he really wanted to walk along wearing only his underpants and have negative thoughts about life, then he could do so.” – p252 ( )
  bound2books | Feb 12, 2017 |
Simply hilarious, it is a wonderful read thoroughly worth your time. It is ingenious of Jonasson to weave so many world events together in one book. ( )
1 vote siok | Jan 30, 2017 |
“Revenge is like politics, one thing always leads to another until bad has become worse, and worse has become worst.”

The title pretty well gives the plot away. Allan Karlsson on his hundredth birthday climbed out his Swedish nursing home window just before his birthday party was about to start and ran away. At the local bus station he comes across a grumpy rude biker with a large suitcase full of money. When asked by the youth to watch the case whilst he is in the toilet Allan decides to steal the case. When the youth discovers the theft he sets off to hunt down the centurian. Thus Allan finds himself chased by gangsters and the law. As a fugitive he makes friends with various other people including
a convicted felon, a depressed hot dog seller and a swearing red-head.

Parallel to all this we are taken back through Karlsson's life during which me had met with some of the biggest historical figures of the 20th century including Churchill, Harry S Truman, Stalin, Kim II Sung and Mao Tse-tung. All of which is totally absurd and high farce but highly enjoyable satire.

Jonas Jonasson is a confident storyteller who is able to contrive multiple plot twists brilliantly. I read a review somewhere that this is really a long string of knock-knock jokes and I find it hard to disagree with that analysis. However, that IMHO does not make it any the less enjoyable. Yes, the plot is entirely ridiculous, but Jonasson's handling of it is so wonderfully deft.

Beneath this humour there is a serious message; that you are never too old to break out of routine and have an adventure or perhaps it should be; no matter how hard to try and avoid politics it has a nasty habit it catching up with you and there is no problem in the world that can't be solved with the help of large amounts of vodka.

This is not a book to be taken too seriously but to sit back and laugh at the various gags or at least with a broad smile on your face which can be no bad thing. This is a book that really deserves to be an international bestseller. I loved it. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Jan 6, 2017 |
The 100 year old man who climbed out the window and disappeared is about Allan Karlsson who right before his 100 year birthday celebrations climbed out of his assisted living room's window and disappeared. The story continues to tell his strange escape story and the dangers and the friendships he comes across. But also a historical story of Allen's 100 year life is told within the escape story. Historical story starts from 1905 and touches many important historical events of the last century: WWI, professor Bernard Lundborg, Spanish Civil War (general Franco), making of the first nuclear bomb (president Roosevelt and Oppenheimer), Harry Truman, Soong Mei-Iing, WWII, CIA and Shah's secret police in Iran, Yury Borisovich Khariton and Stalin and Russia's first nuclear bomb, Kim Il Sung, Mount Agung explosion of Indonesia, President Johnson and president de Gaulle and French communist revolution... there has been also fictional characters (like Herbert Einstein). Overall it was an informative and sometimes funny book, but not a good book to listen instead of reading and gets confusing at some places. And sometimes it gets ridiculously unrealistic... ( )
  soontobefree | Jan 4, 2017 |
This silly and fun story is an encapsulated political history of the world beginning in before World War I. Allan, the 100-year old protagonist, decided he’s sick of the nursing home he lives in and runs away. Stealing a suitcase filled with millions of kroner, he hops on and bus and the adventure begins. The adventure includes a strange assortment of characters, including an elephant. Accidently murdering the gang from whom the suitcase was stolen is only a small chapter in Allan’s life which involves saving the wife of Mao Tse Tung and Winston Churchill as well as helping create the atomic bomb at Los Alamos. And there’s more, so much more. The funniest book I’ve read in some time leaves me still chuckling. ( )
  brangwinn | Dec 9, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 216 (next | show all)
Fast-moving and relentlessly sunny, the novel quickly develops into a romp that takes in all the major events of the 20th century. . . the plot is pleasingly nimble and the book's endearing charm offers a happy alternative to the more familiar Nordic noir.
added by mysterymax | editThe Guardian, Jane Housham (Jul 24, 2012)
 
Stalin synger svenske drikkeviser, og Truman blir dritings .Forrest Gump som hundreåring i ny bok.
ANMELDELSE: Han redder general Franco, riktignok etter først å ha plassert en bombe for å drepe ham. Han avverger et attentat mot Churchill, og gir Oppenheimer den endelige løsningen på formelen for atombomben.

Det rene soap altså. Samtidig er det — på sin høyst skakke og fantasifulle måte — en fantastisk reise gjennom forrige århundre.

Jonas Jonassen er intelligent, vittig og systemkritisk, der han harver over alt fra fjollete politifolk, rasehygienikere og despoters ideologiske paranoia. I en bok som gir håp om at alle har en fremtid, også hundreåringer.
added by annek49 | editDagbladet, Cathrine Krøger (Jan 18, 2011)
 
Nästan frustande av alla förvecklingar som ryms i debuten släpper jag snart taget en bit in i läsningen. Jag inser att precis vad som helst kan hända och kommer att göra det. Författaren tycks bubbla av infallsrikedom strösslad med lite sensmoral.
 

» Add other authors (46 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jonas Jonassonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Černík, ZbyněkTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bjørnson, ElisabethTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bradbury, RodTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bree, Corry vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuhn, WibkeÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Podestà Heir, MargheritaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"Things are what they are, and whatever will be will be."
Dedication
Ingen kunde trollbinda sin publik bättre än morfar där han satt på ljugarbänken, lätt framåtlutad över sin käpp och med munnen full av snus.
– Nej men... är det sant, morfar? sa vi häpna barnbarn.
– Di söm bara säjer dä söm ä sanning, ä inte vär' å höra på, svarade morfar.
Den här boken är till honom.
An extra thank you to Micke, Liza, Rixon, Maud and Uncle Hans.
- Jonas
First words
Monday, 2nd May 2005

You might think he could have made up his mind earlier, and been man enough to tell the others of his decision. But Allan Karlsson had never been given to pondering things too long.
Quotations
Allan Karlsson to Prosecutor Ranelid: "You can never have too much clarity."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Confined to a nursing home and about to turn 100, Allan Karlsson, who has a larger-than-life back story as an explosives expert, climbs out of the window in his slippers and embarks on an unforgettable adventure involving thugs, a murderous elephant and a very friendly hot dog stand operator.… (more)

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